New South Wales’ new premier has flagged he will be looking to privatise the state’s public hospitals as a way to “transform and improve health care”.
Only days after taking the state’s top job, Premier Mike Baird highlighted the role that the private sector already has in running NSW hospitals.
“These (services) extend anywhere from cleaning, to the public-private partnership to design, build, operate and maintain the new Northern Beaches Hospital,” he said in a statement to AAP.
“My government will continue to look for ways to transform and improve health care.”
The “key thing”, he said, was that whatever the model the government pursued, public patients would be cared for as they are currently.
All they would notice was “enhanced services and facilities”, he said.
But Opposition leader John Robertson said NSW families would lose out.
“Our hospitals are here to service the people of NSW, they are not here to be run as businesses,” he told reporters.
Mr Robertson accused the new premier of being “out of touch”, saying he was a “former merchant banker who lives on the northern beaches of Sydney”.
“He just doesn’t get what it is like to be a family that is struggling to make ends meet.”
He said Mr Baird’s “mode of operation” was to privatise the state’s assets, including electricity poles and wires.
The Health Services Union (NSW) secretary Gerard Hayes said its members would campaign against the privatisation of hospitals.
“The private sector does not take this work on out of the goodness of its heart. It does so to make a dollar.”
To turn a profit, he said they would either slash jobs and wages or offer inferior services.